When I find myself at a loose end, which is not very often the case, I tend to revisit the past to see whether in maturity I underwent the great change that people often refer to when they write their memoirs.
For instance, many a politician changes doctrine as he or she evolves. Left-wing enthusiasts become right-wing extremists. Some heterosexuals change their orientation to become gay crusaders, having discovered a more fulfilling sexual relationship with their own gender. Even a number of priests abandon their religious vocation to devote themselves to Christ, to savour a more comfortable terrestrial life that satisfies their need to have sexual congress which had hitherto been denied to them.
Most people change attitudes over the years and view their lives in a totally different perspective. In poverty, they show a generosity of spirit and, when rich, a reversal often occurs prompted by the fear that their wealth might evaporate and render them bereft of a lifestyle they have got accustomed to, addicted to its many benefits.
‘What about happiness?’ I often ask myself. Does it remain constant or is it prone to a more complex dimension, or is it subject to change as our own situation gradually develops in different directions?
I often ponder and reflect on these issues and cast my mind back to the past when, as a teenager, I was trying to analyse the world around me and what the future might hold. I thought of how my family had been brutally separated by the events that led to the formation of the state of Israel. One way or another, they had all ended up living in what was a foreign land, for the Palestine I knew and loved had ceased to exist except as an idea in the heart.
Although family ties remained, I was having to cope alone in a situation where it would have been unthinkable to ask for any assistance, especially on the financial front. Dreams help to maintain morale but they can be very dangerous if they lull us into a false sense of reality.
The rich can implement their dreams almost at will, but those less fortunate have to tread a rocky road; for their dreams can only come through toil and sweat and a steely resolve.
The question is, have I changed dramatically when want was no longer there and I forged a successful and more meaningful existence – and progressed culturally to enjoy the finer things that life can really provide?
I know for certain that consistency in thought and deed never deserted me. I still remain true to my ideas and will perhaps leave this world content to have done better than I anticipated – but always thinking I could have done more.
As for regrets, I have very few for I believe regrets are the spineless way of whitewashing failure. If I erred, I took it straight on the chin and learnt to be excessively alert, more in tune with my inner impulses.